Hearing & Health

How To Choose The Right Hearing Aid Domes

Hearing aid domes are paired with receiver-in-ear (RIC) hearing aids. In Receiver-in-Canal (RIC) hearing aids, domes are small, soft tips that attach to the end of the hearing aid’s receiver (the part that sits inside the ear canal). The primary purposes of hearing aid domes in RIC devices are:

  1. Acoustic Performance: Domes help to deliver sound from the receiver into the ear canal. They come in different sizes and styles to fit snugly in the ear canal, ensuring optimal sound quality and clarity.
  2. Comfort: Soft and flexible domes are designed to be comfortable for extended wear. They create a gentle seal in the ear canal, making the hearing aid more pleasant to use.
  3. Retention: Domes help to keep the receiver securely in place within the ear canal. This prevents the hearing aid from slipping out, especially during activities like talking, chewing, or moving around.
  4. Ventilation: Some domes have small vents or holes to allow air and sound to pass through. This reduces the occlusion effect (the sensation of the ear being plugged) and provides a more natural listening experience.
  5. Personalization: Domes come in various shapes (such as open, closed, and power domes) and sizes to match the user’s ear canal anatomy and hearing loss needs. This allows for a more customized fit and better overall performance of the hearing aid.
  6. Maintenance and Hygiene: Replacing domes helps maintain hygiene and performance. Regular replacement at your hearing provider prevents the buildup of earwax and debris, which can affect sound quality and potentially damage the receiver.

Choosing the right dome type and size is crucial for the effectiveness and comfort of RIC hearing aids. Hearing aid specialists typically assist in selecting and fitting the appropriate domes based on the user’s ear anatomy and hearing loss profile.

Selecting the Proper Shape 

Domes are available in three fundamental shapes:

Open Dome

This style receives some natural sounds, which provide improved quality of sound with better sharpness. Unfortunately, it also weakens the amplification of bass sounds, and hearing aids with open domes usually need more power because some sound leaks out from the vents. This style prevents occlusion, where your own voice sounds echoed as though you’re in a barrel. It’s best for users with mild to moderate hearing loss. Feedback noises might also be a problem for anyone with moderate hearing loss. If that’s the case, talk to your hearing instrument specialist for different options or a refitting. 

Closed Dome    

They are also known as vented or tulip domes. This style features less venting than an open dome, which is useful to amplify sounds if you have difficulty with hearing lower frequencies. It decreases the intensity of higher frequencies but is generally more helpful for anyone with moderate hearing loss. 

Power Dome

If you have severe hearing loss, use power domes with your hearing aids. These domes completely seal the ear canal, which provides the best amplification with very few sound leaks. It’s important to note that these significantly increase bass and lower the sharpness of sounds. Power domes also cancel feedback noises.   

Selecting the Proper Size

Generally, the hearing instrument specialist fitting the hearing aids will pick the right dome size and ensure it fits correctly. The dome should be slightly larger than the patient’s ear canal to seal the ear canal, but there shouldn’t be too much pressure on the ear’s skin. This will cause discomfort and redness to the ear. When you insert or remove a perfectly fitting dome, it should make a light rustling noise.There should be some resistance.   

What if it’s too small?

You consider hearing aid domes too small if they show little resistance when inserted or removed. Very small domes might not make a noise when inserted or removed. If the domes are too small they won’t be very effective, and they will not securely fit the hearing aids in the ear.    

What if it’s too big?

You’ll know if a dome is too big if your ears immediately feel uncomfortable within moments of contact. Open domes may cause more pressure in the canals when the vents deform, and other people’s voices might sound deeper and less clear. Power domes could become very uncomfortable, and soreness or swelling could occur due to the pressure in the canal walls. 

If the sizes are too far off, the dome could fall out of the ear or deeper into the ear. A trip to get it removed by a professional might result from this. You should not attempt to take the domes out of your ears on your own. It could result in pushing the domes even further into the canals, which could damage the eardrum. 

The best domes for you, are ones that fit comfortably, securely and provide the best sounds with your hearing aids. There are different dome styles and sizes for different brands of hearing aids, so you may need a few trials before settling for the right pair.

If you, or a loved one, need hearing aids and a proper hearing aid fitting, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing. Our hearing aid providers are ready to help you. 

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